Online learning can be fun and rewarding if you are properly prepared for the lesson, so we decided to write this article to help you be fully ready and relaxed so you can get the most out of your first, and all the rest, of your online guitar lessons. If possible, be sure to choose a space in your home for your lesson where you won’t be interrupted. This can be a challenge, but do your best to find a comfortable place without distractions, like pets, other people and open windows. You may already be aware of this, but here is a list of everything you should do beforehand and have on-hand for your lesson:
Have your guitar ready. If it’s an electric guitar, have it plugged into your amp and make sure it’s working.
Your guitar method book, or any sheets or written music that you will be using for your lesson.
A music stand if you need it. Or a well placed desk or table that will work for you. A music stand is recommended for your own comfort and for correct posture.
Your device. Whether it’s a computer, laptop, or smartphone, make sure it’s already up and running. It’s usually a good idea to reset your router and/or restart your device a few minutes before the lesson to avoid glitches during the session. In some cases it may become necessary to reboot during the lesson and the teacher may not be able to give you extra time at the end of the lesson to make up for lost time.
Tune your guitar before the lesson if you can. Otherwise your teacher can help you get tuned, but it’s usually a better idea to use the time on other things. Free tuning apps (like Guitar Tuna) are available for smartphones and you can find tuning videos on most large online video hosting sites like YouTube. Stand alone physical tuners are also available.
If you have a footstool (also called a footrest), have it placed and ready to go. Footstools are usually used for “classic guitar” posture, which is when you rest the body of the guitar on your left thigh while you rest your left foot on the footstool (right thigh and foot if you play left-handed). In some cases, footstools are used to minimize pain caused by previous illness or injuries that become aggravated by holding and playing the guitar. This, however, is very uncommon.
If you use a guitar strap, have it ready. You usually only use a strap for electric guitar, but many acoustic guitars are set up to use with straps. Using a strap and standing up while you play is actually a good idea from a health perspective. Straps can also be used instead of a footstool to correct posture problems and to accommodate for pain caused by illness or injury. Don’t forget to adjust the position of your camera and screen to work for your standing position.
If you use guitar picks, have two or three within reach in case you drop one. It’ll save you from having to reach down and pick one up, or retrieve it if it falls into the sound hole of the guitar (this is quite common!).
Have a capo ready to go. Even if you don’t expect to use it for a particular lesson, knowing where it is and making it easy to access is a good plan in case your teacher suddenly has a song idea that involves a capo.
Have a glass of water if you think you’ll need it. Proper hydration is an important aspect of health so be sure to drink enough water. Ideally, however, you won’t have to take time out of the lesson to use the washroom!
Starting the process of preparing for your lesson at least 30 minutes beforehand goes a long way to get you in a receptive frame of mind for optimal learning. The preparation itself can be thought of as a form of meditation to relax the brain and body. Taking a few extra minutes to put in some practice time before your lesson starts is also a great way to prepare. You will definitely be in a more receptive state when you are already thinking about and practicing music on your instrument, and questions about problems you may be having will be at the top of your mind.
For some great tips on buying a guitar please see our blog article “Beginner Guitar Tips: Choosing a Guitar”
We hope this has been helpful! Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about learning guitar and we’ll be happy to talk to you!